Charlie and Gracie

AN: Dan Humphrey may not be one of my fave characters on the show but his efforts amused me on this week's ep. I am still unsure of how deeply the story will develop. I have full intention of exploring Dan and Blair romantically, but I'm not sure if my inner Chuck/Blair will succeed in the end. Let's see.

Spoilers: Allusions to 2.05. Nothing concrete.

Summary: Dan finds new writing Muses. (Chuck/Blair, Dan/Blair)

Before his mentor spiraled downwards into his own world, dragged willingly into an abyss of drugs and liquor, he shared a juicy secret—one that anyone in their community knew and accepted as basic truth. Writers were devastated creatures, torn and shredded inside, unkempt and blasé outside. And for years, as he struggled to find his voice, Dan Humphrey strove towards that goal—cynicism in his voice injected, a smirk plastered on to say that he was better, judgment branded on his forehead.

These beautiful people that he saw daily in a school that his father could barely afford… They were not him, they would never understand him. Dan Humphrey was one of a kind, the only solid reality in a fantasy of money and privilege.

They were characters in a novel, all of them. He was the boy who would tell the story. And as the boy, he would latch on to an anchor. Luckily enough, it was easy to set his eyes on a heroine.

Serena van der Woodsen was a golden princess. She was popular, stunning, effortless. He had held her in his arms once upon a time, his golden chalice. Like all epic loves, he lost her. Dan sat back once and likened his first relationship with so many grand ones that he had read before—Helen and Paris, Orpheus and Euridyce, Cupid and Persephone, Desdemona and Othello, Romeo and Juliet. He walked into school with his head held high. All those stories ended in tragedy. As a modern writer, Dan Humphrey would carry the tragedy in his heart and trudge through.

He walked past Serena and her girlfriends sitting on the steps. He noticed the way their voices dropped considerably the moment he passed by. He had been honing his writer's eye and ear for some time now. He was trained to notice his surroundings. Serena was perfection, up on a pedestal, her long smooth legs bare and stretched out, attracting the attention of every St Jude's boy who turned up for school. One of his classmates tripped on the way in, so enraptured he had been at the sight of Dan's ex-girlfriend. Dan shook his head, grateful that he had risen past the childishness, even the utter normality, of being under Serena van der Woodsen's spell.

Since it was still rather early to go to class, Dan Humphrey settled on one of the stone tables in the yard. He whipped out his notebook. He looked up at the blonde and back down at the blank paper.

"Sunlight," he murmured, and scribbled. "Perfection. Glorious."

It was a strategy that he had learned to employ. It hadn't yet proven effective, but he thought he would try it out. Later on, when he had established distance from the moment and from the muse, he would create the story based on these random words he associated with her.

He shook his head in amusement at the final list that he came up with. It was a set of twenty words, and they were all too trite. "Guess you can't wax poetic on something sublime."

"Oh please!" came a feminine voice from behind him.

He turned his head and saw Blair Waldorf grimacing at him. Dan scrambled to his feet and stammered, "Blair! This… this didn't mean anything. I was finishing an assignment."

She rolled her eyes, bringing Dan's attention to their darkness. "It's not like I can what you're doing, Humphrey. I normally wouldn't react, but you're stinking the place up with pathetic."

He was taken aback, mostly because when he met her eyes, there was no malice apparent despite her voice oozing with it. Serena had always been transparent. Nate Archibald, from Dan's brief interaction with him, proved to radiate gloom. And Chuck Bass, Dan's favorite subject of all time, practically combusted in those special moments. Blair Waldorf was a blank slate overall. "Well thank you for the commentary, Blair. I'm not sure how it's helpful though."

Instead of answering him, Blair's gaze went from his head to his toes, then turned and walked into Constance. Dan released the breath that he had been holding. He turned back to the table and to his notes, only to find it missing. He looked up and found himself sitting right across from Chuck Bass. "Chuck, I was looking for you. Look, man, I'm sorry. I would never—"

Chuck held up a hand to silence him, and Dan found himself effectively silenced without any physical force. After skimming through the notebook, Chuck tossed it away in disgust. "I can whip out a better product that you can in one sitting if I wanted to."

Dan shrugged away the insult. "I didn't write it."

"I know," Chuck informed him softly. "Whatever anyone else thinks of my talents, I never question them myself."

"Alright," Dan allowed.

"Talking to Blair Waldorf, I see," Chuck began. At Dan's slow nod, Chuck leaned forward on the table. Dan copied the movement. "If I see you print anything—Wait, what am I thinking, you wouldn't ever get published." He revised, "If I find out you're even writing anything about Claire Astor or whatever the hell kind of name you'll use to disguise her, you're going to find yourself in a worse situation than drugged and shoeless on the streets."

Dan shook his head. "I have no intention of doing that."

"What makes you think I'll believe you? Just watch your back, Humphrey. Not that it will matter anyway."

Dan watched Chuck vanish into the school building. He reached for his notebook. He looked up at the large windows of Constance and saw the figure. Dan squinted against the sun and saw her standing there, silent, her face blank as she looked down at the steps where her friends sat laughing together. Blair Waldorf folded her arms across her chest. Subconsciously, he turned the page over and lifted his pen.

'Her dark eyes were drowning; her throat closed. The water closed above her and she kicked her feet in the bottomless pool,' he wrote down. And then his pen flew across the page, over and over and over. 'One day, she would sink, and no one would be the wiser for it.'

He paused, then looked up again. He sucked in his breath when he found her staring straight into his eyes. 'Grace, they called her. Gracie, that's how he knew the neighbor girl.' Dan blinked, but she did not waver. 'Grace tumbled down from roof of her home one afternoon as she reached for a fruit from his grandfather's tree. He had been trimming the grass when he found her, hair mussed, dry cuts of grass stuck to her pale skin, reaching her hand up and demanding that he help her. "Gracie," he had warned, "you better go back to your house before anyone finds out you're over the fence." And Grace had grinned and said, "Later. Give me some lemonade first."' Dan broke into a smile as he looked down at the rough paragraph.

Excited at the prospect of writing out the plot slowly forming in his head, Dan looked up again and saw the window empty. Disappointed, he stood up and entered the school.

It was time to take charge of his writing, of his life experiences. Waiting around was not the answer. He took his phone out of his pocket and texted, 'Any plans for tonight?'

After one second, his phone beeped. 'Humphrey. Ur texting me.' Dan grinned at the response. Without any tone or voice, Blair Waldorf still sounded like Blair Waldorf.

He texted back, 'I'll take that as a no. meet u at the gate at 4.'